Sarah Nelson

June 7, 2018

FBI, Jeff Sessions, Used Misleading Statistics to Drum Up Fear About Encryption

Defending Rights and Dissent has joined a coalition of 20 other civil liberties organizations in demanding that the Justice Department Inspector General review how the incorrect figure of 7,800 unlockable devices originally came to be. The coalition of groups is also pushing for an investigation into why Justice Department officials and Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued to cite this statistic even after it was discovered that the FBI had made an error in their calculations.
March 7, 2018

Senators Patrick Leahy and Steve Daines Seek to Rein in Warrantless Border Searches of Electronic Devices

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) has the authority to look through an US person’s (i.e. citizen or lawful permanent resident) electronic devices at the border and at international airports even if they cannot cite a reason for being suspicious.A bipartisan bill proposed in Congress on Tuesday would limit these practices and strengthen the Fourth Amendment rights of US persons when they are reentering the country.
November 29, 2016

Manning in Prison, Snowden in Exile, Petraeus in…the Next Presidential Cabinet?

The juxtaposition of Petraeus with whistleblowers like Jeffrey Sterling, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou illustrates a massive double standard: if you leak information for the public good then you are a traitor, but if you leak information out of pure negligence from a position of power then you can be the next secretary of state.
November 22, 2016

What Does Steve Bannon’s Appointment Mean for Civil Liberties?

Bannon’s appointment also has to be viewed in the context of Trump’s other appointments thus far, which have been varying degrees of horrific when it comes to condoning and promoting what the BORDC/DDF stands against
November 15, 2016

How Did Civil Liberties Fare On Your Ballot?

Last week, the Dissent NewsWire reported on ballot initiatives to watch during the 2016 elections. Election day turned out favorably for marijuana legalization, but other civil liberties did not fair nearly as well. In particular, we saw major losses in regards to the death penalty, the right to assemble, and reforming the prison system.
November 1, 2016

Baltimore Police’s Secret Surveillance Comes to Light

In January, the Baltimore Police Department began a months-long partnership with an Ohio-based private company known as Persistent Surveillance Systems. Persistent Surveillance was hired to conduct hundreds of hours of aerial surveillance over the city of Baltimore using specialized cameras mounted to a Cessna that patrolled 32 square miles of the city.
November 1, 2016

Fourth Amendment Violations Are Now Lucrative Business Opportunities

Putting aside the irony that law enforcement agencies are using our tax dollars to purchase the most mundane pieces of our own data, the most worrisome aspect of this revelation is that it proves that the buying and selling of metadata in secret is undeniably a lucrative business model. AT&T’s disregard for privacy in the name of profit only becomes more problematic with its recent acquisition of Time Warner and the further consolidation of telecom firms, which leaves even fewer options for customers.
September 23, 2016

Criminalizing Social Media? New Report Reviews Abridging Online Speech that Advocates “Terrorism”

The Congressional Research Service recently released a report that explores when it is permissible for the government to restrict online speech that advocates for terrorism.
August 3, 2016

What The Republican and Democratic Party Platforms Say About Civil Liberties

"Republicans came out in favor of stricter regulations for aerial surveillance devices, except when those devices are being used by the government to monitor undocumented immigrants from crossing the border. The platform also came out in opposition to the government requiring surveillance devices in the daily lives of Americans, and cited tracking devices on motor vehicles as an example."
July 11, 2016

Recap: Panel Discussion on Social Movements and the Surveillance State

As part of our ongoing Activism is Not Terrorism campaign, BORDC/DDF hosted a panel of activists last week to discuss how social movements should fight against the ever-expanding government-sanctioned surveillance state. The event was made possible with help from DC Jacobin
July 6, 2016

What Role Will Body Cameras Play in Policing RNC Protests in Cleveland?

Many police officers will not be wearing body cameras at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July. Police body worn cameras (BWCs) have risen in popularity over the last couple of years for their potential to increase police transparency
June 23, 2016

Senate Rejects Amendment Expanding FBI Surveillance Powers By Narrow Margin

Earlier this month, FBI Director James Comey announced that expanding the scope of data that can be collected through national security letters (NSL) would be the FBI’s primary legislative objective. To recap, national security letters or NSLs are documents that